But the transition can be easy if you have constant open communication and keep the following suggestions in mind:
Have a marital contract
As harsh as it may seem, it’s very important to have a marital contract. Here are the three choices available to you and your partner:
Marriage in Community of Property
Both parties are the owners of the joint estate. From the start of the marriage all assets and liabilities are incorporated in a single, joint estate, with certain assets being excluded. Assets accumulated by one or both parties prior to the marriage also become part of the joint estate owned by both parties.
Marriage Out of Community of Property without accrual
This type of marriage becomes effective when the parties enter into an ante-nuptial contract. This is a contract entered into by both parties and with rules and conditions in respect of the division of assets, and which will apply during the marriage. In this contract, the property owned by a person prior to the marriage, as well as all property accumulated during the marriage, belongs only to that person.
Marriage Out of Community of Property with accrual
In terms of this marriage contract the difference between the net increases in the respective estates during the duration of the marriage is divided equally between the two parties when the marriage is terminated.
What about the children?
If you plan to raise a family together, have an agreement in place that “supports the rights and responsibilities inherent to parental roles and relationships.
Have separate retirement savings
It’s also a good idea to discuss plans for retirement. Ideally you should be saving as early as possible. However, you might have different ideas of retirement just like you’ll have different ideas of wanting to save for retirement. Saving for retirement will impact your savings and budget. Retirement planning consists of two phases: pre-retirement funding and post-retirement income. And this is something that you and your partner may want to talk about, openly and honestly as the last thing you want is a surprise when you reach your retirement phase.
Have a Will in place
If you want your partner to benefit from any of your assets or even want them to stay in the home you share, it is imperative that you have an updated will. Despite how long you two are together, all your property and assets will go to your blood relations rather than your partner if you die.
Don't forget about your tax
Being married in South Africa means that it will impact your tax. Therefore, it is advisable to understand the tax implications of marriage and how SARS will view the type of marriage contract you choose.